Project-based homeschooling is based on the Reggio Emilia educational philosophy, developed in Italy after World War 2. The Célestin Freinet method is a similar project-based approach to learning. The child takes all the responsibility for their project and their learning, with parents assisting them with research, planning, or obtaining resources for their projects. Real-life learning cannot be divided neatly into separate subjects, but many projects will incorporate all the major learning areas. The parents keep a journal recording such things as observations, steps taken, or questions asked so the parent and child can later reflect on and discuss the project. A typical day might include: a visit to the local library to conduct research; some planning on a white board; discussing aspects of the project over lunch; stretches of time where the student is absorbed in working on his project; reading related books; and, some time for studying any subjects that aren’t incorporated into the project.
very much student-led and student-centered
not an ‘all-or-nothing method’; but, works well with many other homeschool methods
students that collaborate on projects develop valuable social skills
inquiry-based learning fosters a love and motivation for learning
working on projects can make research meaningful and develop strong research skills
having a projects-based approach to learning can nurture student passions and talents
POINTS TO CONSIDER
a good choice if you value independent or self-directed learning
difficult to plan a structured learning path
projects might need some guidance to ensure that all core competencies are being developed
attempting to incorporate every subject into a project might not work so well for certain subjects that build on a growing bed of systematic, prerequisite knowledge (e.g. math)
Project-based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self-Directed Learners by Lori Pickert
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